NATO fighter-jets serving in the Baltic air-policing mission were last week scrambled six times from Lithuania over Russian warplanes flying above the Baltic Sea.
NATO karo lėktuvai
© Reuters / Scanpix

NATO jets intercepted Russian fighter-jets, a transport and a reconnaissance airplane, with many of them flying with their automatic transponders off, the Defense Ministry said.

Although increased activity of Russian warplanes above the Baltic Sea has been reported since the 2014 annexation of Crimea, NATO jets have not been scrambled from Lithuania more than five times this year.

The Russian Kaliningrad region wedged between Lithuania and Poland hosted an air defense exercise for Su-27 jets last week. Tomas Pakalniskis, spokesman for the Lithuanian army's Joint Staff, did not comment to BNS whether the increased activity of the Russian warplanes had to do with the training.

All in all, NATO air-policing jets were scrambled 24 times this year over Russian warplanes.

Last year, the number of scrambles was about 110, down from 160 two years ago, 140 in 2014 and 47 in 2013.

NATO fighter-jets conduct the air-policing mission from bases in Siauliai and Estonia. The jets are usually scrambled over Russian warplanes flying above the Baltic Sea between Kaliningrad and continental Russia.

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